Report No.: CCEER-07-1

Title: Study of Concrete Bridge Columns Using Innovative Materials Subjected to Cyclic Loading

Authors: Melissa O'Brien, Mehdi Saiidi, and Mahmoud Sadrossadat-Zadeh

Date: January, 2007

Sponsoring Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)

Performing Organization:
Department of Civil Engineering/258
University of Nevada, Reno
Reno, NV 89557


In an attempt to improve performance of concrete bridge columns subjected to strong earthquakes, three 0.2 scale circular columns using innovative materials in the plastic hinge zone were tested under cyclic loading. The first column (RSC) utilized conventional concrete and steel reinforcement, the other two (RNC and RNE) incorporated shape memory alloy (SMA) longitudinal reinforcement, and the third (RNE) utilized engineered cementitious composites (ECC) in the plastic hinge.

The average ratio of residual to maximum displacement in RSC, RNC, and RNE was 0.82, 0.27 and 0.14, respectively, indicating substantial benefits of using innovative materials. RNE experienced the least damage and highest drift capacity among the three columns. The test results showed that SMA and ECC are very effective in improving serviceability of bridges after earthquakes.

Analytical studies using the program OpenSees led to reasonable estimates of residual drifts, overall cyclic response, and forces when compared to the experimental results.